Case Study Based on Crenson’s Questions with Answers

Read the following case study based on Crenson’s work about air pollution in the U.S.A. (Crenson, the un-politics of air pollution,1971),

then answer the following questions:

a) Describe Luke’s three dimensions of power and identify which one of Luke’s dimensions of power is described in this case.

b) Discuss the differences between the two schools of thought regarding the distribution of power: pluralism and elitism. Then identify which was the most predominant school described in the City 2 case. (500 words maximum) In the 1960s a researcher by the name of Matthew Crenson sought to explain why air pollution remained a “nonissue” within many American cities. He attempted to identify relationships between the neglect of air pollution and the characteristics of political leaders and institutions. Crenson began by demonstrating that action or inaction on pollution in American cities could not be attributed to differences in actual pollution levels, or to differences in social attributes of the populations in different cities.

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In this study, Crenson investigated two neighboring cities which were both equally polluted and had similar demographic profiles. City 1 had acted to deal with air pollution in 1949, while City 2 did nothing until 1962. Crenson argued that the difference arose because City 1 had several steel companies with no strong connections to political party organizations when it passed its air pollution legislation in 1949. City 2 was dominated by a single company called US Steel which was the largest single employer in the city, and with strong connections to a political party organization. Crenson identified that in City 2 the anticipated negative reactions from US Steel appeared to have prevented activists and city leaders from placing the issue on the agenda. Crenson also suggested that “the air pollution issue tends not to flourish in cities where industry enjoys a reputation for power” (Crenson, 2971, p .).

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